The South begins at the front door of Northern Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.
According to meetNKY, Northern Kentucky’s official tourism and convention services bureau, you’ll find “Southern with a bit of German fusion and a whole lot of sass,” which includes beautiful nature, award-winning restaurants, performance opportunities, STEAM experiences, hands-on workshops and much more.
Next time you’re planning student travel, look into these highlights from the Cincy Region.
Ohio River Way
If you want to teach about conservation, pollution and ecosystems, head to the Ohio River Way, named the second-most endangered river of 2023. It’s a gorgeous, wide, relatively calm river, with hundreds of miles for a variety of activities, from canoeing to kayaking, boating, or even simply biking along the water’s edge. Plus, the Ohio River played a role in the Underground Railroad, serving as a national boundary between slave states in the South and free states in the North.
WAVE Foundation at Newport Aquarium
The Newport Aquarium has 70 exhibits and 13 galleries, including the first-in-the-world Shark Bridge, where you can cross a rope bridge inches above a tank full of sharks. And for students, the aquarium partners with the WAVE Foundation to excite, engage and educate about the wonders of aquatic life and the importance of conservation. WAVE’s programs expand access, increasing the footprint of the Newport Aquarium by bringing the ocean to classrooms and other places of learning.
CREW at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
For even more focus on biodiversity, check out the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo. From imperiled cats to polar bears, rhinoceroses, exceptional plants and the CryoBioBank, they’re doing incredible and unique work here. Plus, it’s the only zoo in the world to achieve the highest level of accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum, and one of only two accredited botanical gardens in Ohio.
American Sign Museum
Brilliant neon lights, vintage McDonald’s signs, a recreation of historic “Main Street USA”—the American Sign Museum has it all. Covering more than 100 years of signs in a 20,000-square-foot space, visitors of all ages are welcome to be amazed by the history and beauty here. Student groups are very welcome, with tours geared specifically to different age groups.
There is nothing quite like experiencing an historic 19th-century observatory in person. The telescopes are just so cool! Field trips include a brief presentation on a topic of your choice followed by a tour of the buildings. Weather permitting, you can also safely see the Sun through the telescopes. Programs last 60-75 minutes and are perfect for 1-2 classrooms at a time.
Krohn Conservatory opened in 1933 and is located in Eden Park. The land in the park used to belong to former Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth, and he called it his Garden of Eden. The conservatory features Art Deco design, historical botanical architecture, a fern house, palm house, desert house, orchid house, bonsai gallery and floral show room.
Make the most of your STEM-based experiences in the Cincy Region with the trifecta of Northern Kentucky University (NKU), Gateway Community & Technical College , and 80 Acres Farm. Students can immerse themselves in interactive simulations for Trades, Robotics, Programming/Coding, Cyber Security, Vertical Farming and more! Students can gain firsthand knowledge on the ins and outs of these next generation disciplines. Programs were created in collaboration with business leaders who want the future generations to be equipped with the best knowledge and skills training to be prepared for jobs of the future.
For more ideas and information, head to visitcincy.com.
Photo Courtesy of American Sign Museum.